Developer carrotcake revealed The Garden Path, a slice-of-life sim about the joys of gardening and the comforts of building a safe place with new friends, earlier this week. It’s set to release in 2021 — and it’s one of the most beautiful games I’ve ever looked at.
You inhabit the role of a new gardener. As this gardener, you have the opportunity to restore life to a now-forgotten garden that once thrived with love and color. You will accomplish this by curating, crafting, and growing your own garden. This garden will grow and reflect both the passing of time (in the game and in the real world) and your creativity. You’ll also do activities like fishing, making tea, and getting to know colorful and interesting vegetable and animal-headed villagers. These villagers will have different personalities and stories — and will hopefully become your friends in due time. Your garden will allow you to meet new people, weave new stories, and find new distractions every time you play.
The Garden Path is designed to be played as and when you wish, without any particular pressure. I’m looking forward to seeing how this turns out. I fell off Animal Crossing: New Horizons because, while I originally found it relaxing, it quickly became a stressful endeavor to shorten my never-ending list of things to do. The Garden Path aims to be a more low-pressure alternative in the life simulation genre. Its tone is a mixture of warmth and melancholy, combining to provide a deep sense of tranquility in an increasingly familiar world. Eventually, it hopes to become a home away from home.
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I’m already getting those vibes from its debut trailer, which you can watch above. Looking at any single frame makes one thing immediately clear: this is a visually stunning game. Its look resembles a gorgeous watercolor painting, with warm, red shadows and soft brushstrokes that add dimension and texture. It has dedicated day and night original soundtracks and will showcase the gradual passing of the seasons, and the growth of the world around you. And I’m itching to know more of the characters you’ll meet. They have some incredibly intriguing designs, and I get the sense they’ll occasionally say lines that are written with the purpose of tugging at my heartstrings.
Among the game’s features listed in a press release are:
- A humble gardening life-sim with real-time progress even when you’re away.
- Rich illustrated visuals and original soundtracks that draw you in.
- A charming cast of characters, all with their own unique personalities and stories to tell. Some of your vegetable-headed friends may even decide to move in!
- Plant seeds, watch them grow, then harvest them for materials to use later.
- Go fishing and score a big catch, collect dustflies, and trade your findings for new items.
Collect furniture, then decorate the garden and your tent to make it feel like home.
The Garden Path is being made by a solo developer named Louis Durrant. He has created everything in the game —from its art to its soundtrack, to its writing and gameplay. It is currently slated for PC, with further platforms to be announced in the future. You can wishlist it here. I’m so excited to see more of this beautiful game throughout the year.
Disclaimer: I was an intern at Player Two PR, which is handling The Garden Path, from January to March 2021. I did not do any work on the game, as it was signed on near the end of my internship. The only thing I did was immediately cry upon looking at a pre-alpha trailer because it is so dang pretty.